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The Difference Between Bodily Injury and Personal Injury

March 4, 2021Personal Injury

When you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, there are many legal terms that you will hear and need to understand. Two of those are bodily injury and personal injury. While they may sound similar, there are significant differences in their definitions and legal meanings. 

What Is Bodily Injury?

Bodily injury refers to any physical pain, disability, or illness that compromises your physical well being, resulting from another’s wrongful actions or inaction. Serious bodily injury is any physical harm that increases the risk of death or causes disfigurement, impairment, or loss of a limb or organ. 

The courts reserve the term bodily injury to refer only to physical injuries, even if you have suffered other damages such as emotional distress. It is most commonly used in criminal law and car accident cases. 

For example, if another person is at fault in your car accident, bodily injury liability coverage will cover your costs like medical bills. However, you may also qualify for personal injury compensation, but your bodily injury and fault must be proven. 

In Missouri, all drivers must carry insurance with bodily injury liability limits of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. 

What is Personal Injury?

Personal injury refers to a broad spectrum of lawsuits related to physical or emotional and psychological injuries caused by another party. For instance, grounds for a personal injury claim can involve an accident at work, a car crash, or a defective product, but also something like defamation that doesn’t result in physical injuries. 

There are various elements involved in personal injury law that can impact your claim and the amount of compensation you can recover. 

  • Issue of Liability: Missouri is a pure comparative negligence state. This rule allows plaintiffs (victims) to recover damages even if they are 99 percent to blame for the accident. As a result, multiple parties can be liable, and their percentage of fault will reduce compensation. For instance, if you are awarded $20,000 and found 40 percent at fault, you will recover $12,000. 
  • Proof of Liability: as the victim, you bear the burden of proving the other party is responsible for your injuries. That will involve establishing that you were owed a duty of care, the defendant breached their duty of care, your injuries were a direct result of their breach (causation), and you suffered damages (financial losses). 
  • Statute of Limitations: a statute of limitations is a time limit that dictates how long you have to file a personal injury claim. In Missouri, you typically have five years to pursue a claim. This time starts from either the date of the accident or the day you discover your injuries, though there are some exceptions. 

Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?

If you or someone you love was recently injured in an accident in St. Louis, we can advise you on the best course of action for your particular case. We will help you navigate the claims process and fight for the maximum amount of compensation available under the law. Contact us today for a free consultation, online, or by calling (314) 888-1000.

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